Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fundamentalists and the fundamentals

John Masterson

Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30

Sir Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1998
Sir Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1998

In the wake of the Paris outrage, it is surprising how much rubbish is trotted out. In a channel-hopping hour, Kay Burley on Sky described France as a deeply religious country and were she not standing in a Parisian street, I would have wondered had she ever been in the country. It is one of the most secular countries on earth. In 2006 less than 5pc of Roman Catholics, the largest religion by far, went to Mass weekly. A few minutes later, I heard some English professor of something or other blame it all on migrants. Always quick off the mark, they are. And then there was the old chestnut that it is nothing to do with Islam.

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Of course it is something to do with Islam. People do not put on suicide jackets and detonate themselves praising Allah where they will kill the most innocent people if they think nothing more awaits them than a six-foot hole in the ground. The people who committed mass murder in the Charlie Hebdo office did not do so because the artists drew cartoons of Mickey Mouse. Salman Rushdie did not spend years under a death threat because he criticised George Bush.

They are misguided fanatical fundamentalists, we are told. Then it is time to look at the fundamentals. Hands up anyone who is delighted by the way any of the major world religions treats women. Scientology is good, some say. But that is really scraping the bottom of the ridiculous beliefs barrel.

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